By Daniel Hunter
Consumers, retailers and manufacturers will soon be freed from outdated red tape currently in force, Consumer Minister Norman Lamb announced today (Friday).
A consultation launched today proposes removing regulations in retail and manufacturing sectors that the Red Tape Challenge has identified as no longer required.
The announcement comes after a recent Government report showed that British businesses will be freed from around £4 million of regulatory burdens between January and June 2012.
Many of the regulations covered in the consultation were introduced to tackle a specific problem with a particular product, such as fireguards for domestic heating appliances or customers being misled through disingenuous pricing.
Whilst these regulations were very effective at stamping out the problem they were designed to tackle, they are not flexible enough to deal with new products or practices in today’s world.
For example the Children’s Clothing (Hood Cords) Regulations 1976 were introduced to remove outer clothing such as raincoats from the market as their cords posed a strangulation risk to small children. However, a newer updated European Standard is now in place BS EN 14682, which covers cord and drawstring safety in all children’s garments and not just outer clothing.
The Heating Appliances (Fireguards) Regulations 1991 requires products to meet the standards as they were in 1971 and are now clearly out of date. Consumers are instead protected by the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 which covers the safety of all consumer products and uses the latest product safety standards.
“Removing regulation which is out of date, unnecessary and overcomplicated, whilst protecting customer safety, is a win for consumers and businesses. We already have more effective and more practical regulation in place," Consumer Minister Norman Lamb said.
“The Government is determined to cut the regulatory burden on companies to help them to innovate and focus on running their business. This move, which is part of a much wider programme to reduce unnecessary regulation, will make life simpler for many thousands of firms across the UK.”
The Retail theme was the first sector in the spotlight on the Red Tape Challenge website between April and May 2011. While the Manufacturing sector was examined a few months later between July and September.
The Red Tape Challenge effectively opened up the decision making process across Government, giving different groups and organisations a say in which regulations are necessary and which ones can be simplified or scrapped.
The consultation is seeking views from businesses, the public and voluntary and community organisations on how these changes will impact them. It will run for eight weeks, closing on Wednesday 23 May.
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